Recently I have been blogging about transparency and obfuscation in relation to decision making. For a few weeks I am going to blog about awareness. Why? Because of the upcoming Risk Awareness Week. It is the brainchild of Alex Sidorenko of the Risk-Academy blog, who is based in Spain. He has convinced me and a whole bunch of others around the globe (about 50 I think) to run online sessions designed for non-risk professionals to help spread the good word (not the boring old risk stuff) about how they can manage uncertainty associated with their decision making. So in the spirit of Risk Awareness Week coming up in October, here is a little piece on awareness. This one is about safety.

There are three things needed for a safe workplace:

Attitude – The understanding that people’s safety does matter and is more important than money or other drivers. Attitude comes from how the organisation is lead. Short and simple.

Aptitude – The ability to work safely. Not everyone is as capable with a jackhammer, a knife or driving a forklift. This means skills gap analysis and the attitude to do something about any gaps found.

Awareness – The knowledge of what the risk to people’s safety is AND the agreed method for managing safety. Take either of those out and you have an incident waiting to happen.

While attitude and aptitude are important and can’t be missed out, awareness is the most essential element. Even without a great attitude to safety or sufficient aptitude, having awareness of an unsafe situation may still lead to appropriate action. A poor attitude may lead to the formal components of safety being ignored, not to explicitly leaving an unsafe situation unchecked. Similarly, if someone lacks aptitude but understands the hazard, they are in a position make safe choices.

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